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At the invitation of my Father I moved in with him and my Mother in May 2011. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in September 2010. At the time I was between relationships, was moving and was negotiating on a couple of Professional Jobs.
Instead of taking one of those high paying jobs I took one for caring for my Folks. I am an unpaid Caregiver. Mom has gone steadily and quite fast with her Alzheimer's. I would say she is at stage 6 out of 7 per Alzheimer's Organization, with visits to 7 at times.
Dad had a Stroke in 3 days before Christmas 2011. I was here, saw something was wrong and called 911. It is classified as a mild stroke. He has some cognitive problems and short term memory. Other than that you cannot tell he had one.
Today Dad is 93 and Mom is 90.
Dad has no other medical problems.
Mom has congestive heart failure that involves one of her valves and her heart is only working at 70%. It is non-operable given her age and condition.
She fell in August 2012, nothing broken, but landed in the hospital and then skilled nursing. She was home for 5 days when she exhibited strange behavior, confusion and weakness. Called 911 and determined she had a UTI, was dehydrated and kidneys were failing. Funny thing is the day before and the day of - she was visited by Home Rn's to thoroughly check her out after her first discharge from skilled nursing. Also our regular caregiver was here in the afternoon and monitoring her fluid intake. Per Dr. Orders she is supposed to stay around 50 oz. per day. Well that was another 911 at 10pm and then admission to Hospital and then back to skilled nursing. She was gone from the two incidents for 2 months and 1 day.
I am fortunate in that my Dad knows his limitations and gave up driving after his stroke. Now he prefers to be a passenger and take in the scenery. At the same time he turned over the finances and legal stuff for me to handle. I talk about what I am doing, so he is not totally out of the loop. I am also fortunate that 98% of their Estate Documents were up to date. We did make some changes while Mom was lucid to change the POA and a few other docs.
I am also fortunate in that there is adequate monthly cash flow to cover expense with some left over. They have modest amounts in a couple of annuities that have earned a decent return. Of course have no mortgage or debt.
At least Mom is manageable and the Doctor has her on some meds to help in that area. I also have a Caregiver come in 4 days a week for 4 hours a day. Based on Income only my folks qualified for a subsidy that is paid by State and Federal funds designed for folks like them to age in place. So the cost of the Caregiver is paid on a sliding scale. Our case worker says they still have money to spend for the program as funding has been increased every year. The reason, is if my folks and others would eventually end up on Medicaid after they spend down their assets to cover assisted living for Dad and Memory Care for Mom. Memory Care, Room and Board only, runs at 10,000 to 12,000 per month in our area.
As to myself, I have a background in running a successful business and when I was starting it, I worked as a Field Adjuster for Major Insurance Carriers and as a Licensed Independent Adjuster. I was sent to a lot of off-site training, most significant one was negotiating. I worked General Liability with most of my claims being classified as "heavy" - serious injuries, fatals and such. I have read many Dr. Reports and Chart notes, I have also requested many of the Reports asking very specific questions that pertained to that accident and injury. I obtained training on that as well, as well as continuing opportunities to learn. I also interviewed all kinds of people. All of that experience has been transferable to my folks current situation.
Some years ago I closed my business and worked in many other positions, where I have been able work in areas that have in a sideways way that helps my folks.
Also before my daughter was born it was decided that I be a "stay at home Dad" and run my business. Did it for 3 years, 6 days a week. Her mother had her own business in the beauty field. . I got her up and put her to bed and did all the things in between, while running a wholesale nursery. I think that I picked up some transferable skills in that venture. Fortunately my daughter was a good eater, like to ride in the truck with me [she had her first overnight delivery to another state when she was 8 weeks old] and was not fussy.
I have also been able to take advantage of Caregiving Classes and Conferences that have helped me build a network and learn things in this area.
With Technology being what it is, I also was working with computers since 1972 when I was getting my Forestry and Business degrees. In 1984 started a process of converting my business from handwriting to computer records. By 1989 all was computerized. Went on the Internet in 1995. I have also taught myself how to get the best out of Google and other search engines.
I am a believer of Business Organizations and belonged to many when I had my business. Once I was helping my parents, I sought out the various organizations and became a member or at the least signed up for their e-mail newsletters.
I have scheduled vacations since May 2011 to recharge. When moving back in with my Parents, I was back where I grew up and rekindled old school chums and other friends in the area to have someone to talk to and blow off steam. I had been out of the area for 32 years.
I also have on retainer - a Certified Geriatric Care Manager to help me. Plus I have links and bookmarks up the kazoo and by using Firefox have them coded so I can quickly find a specific link or group of links.
Without HSI, a Laptop and Wireless, this would be much, much harder.
Right at this moment, my Dad is in the Hospital and has been there for the last 10 days. One morning he showed signs of a wakeup stroke and I called 911 immediately. While in the Hospital, he developed a number of conditions that he has never had before. I have my Care Manager working with the Medical Providers. Dad is pulling through and should be moving to skilled nursing next week. In this case I have brought in additional Caregivers in the mornings and I am doing what I was doing before.
My folks are not rich, but they are frugal, as am I. I have crunched the numbers between "Aging in Place" and putting Mom in a Institution or a Group Family Home [which is not much cheaper]. And they do have a modest Long Term Care Policy and would qualify for Veteran's Benefits, so that is there for the future.
This very topic, I was talking with a friend last week. I cannot put my finger on it, but I am getting a certain satisfaction in doing this service. Their Condo is nice and large, looks like a single family ranch, is on a golf course, so there is scenery and the HOA is well run.
I also volunteered driving Meals on Wheels for 4 years, doing that 2 days a week. I also was a Certified Hospice Volunteer and of course received training for that.
The biggest thing that has save me is access to a wealth of information on the Internet and the knowledge as to how to find it. Also building a network of friends, professionals and more has been extremely helpful.
It may sound like I have not had challenges, I have. But in reviewing my life, I have always been a troubleshooter and problem solver. Fortunately I have a lot of transferable skills.
By my count I have saved them several hundred thousand dollars and allowed them to live in their home for 2 going on 3 years.
BTW - I am male and in my early 60's, though I look much younger. I have no love interests, but I have friends who are girls, but no girlfriends and no hanky panky to complicate things. We travel and have similar interests. 3 divorces are enough. I have passive income, not a huge amount but enough to pay my bills. Will I get an inheritance, just do not know. I do not count on one. I plan on working part time when this gig is up. I was doing some long distance consulting, but had to taper that off, as I did not have ample time to devote to it.